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Social Media

Karine Joly

If the 10 years I’ve spent observing and analyzing the industry since I started my blog are any indication, there’s one prediction I can make with complete confidence: The new year will have its share of surprises and challenges. Keep these five trends in mind.

Has your institution implemented an innovative student success initiative that reaches across campus departments and is getting results? Apply to be recognized by University Business' Model of Excellence.

The go-to data point used to indicate whether an institution is helping students reach success has tended to be its graduation rate. Post-graduation employment is another indicator but the definition of student success has evolved to include many more areas.

Here's how colleges and universities are using social media to connect with alumni.

If you build it, they will come. Your alumni are already Facebooking, tweeting and linking in, in ever-increasing numbers. Colleges and universities are taking advantage of this activity to launch and grow robust social networks of graduates that strengthen alumni engagement, boost volunteerism and stimulate giving.

Karine Joly: Your social media policy and the network's terms of service have different purposes.

“Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.”

This rallying cry against the “let’s do as we always did” approach has helped the digital professionals take their seat at the decision table in many institutions. Yet this unorthodox advice may have been embraced too literally in the social media field. It’s no wonder that some enthusiastic and well-meaning social media managers still break basic rules with the institutional accounts they oversee.

A survey covering 21 social networks found colleges and universities use only four to recruit.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram continue to be the most widely used online recruitment mediums for higher ed marketers, who may want to consider delving into other platforms now popular among high school seniors.

A graduating senior applying for a position completed a successful phone interview and travelled to a face-to-face interview with the company. Instead of an interview, the candidate was told upon arrival that the company had discovered ‘inappropriate’ posts and behavior in his social media. The candidate was directly rebuked and dismissed without any hope of ever obtaining a position in the company.

Yes, this is a true story from a CEO, who had wished they had looked at social media earlier in the process.

Azusa Pacific University in California first used the #iHeartAPU hashtag in 2011 to hype up orientation, where students get T-shirts with the phrase.

Incoming, current and prospective students and alumni were using #iHeartAPU year-round, so a new hashtag—#APUBound—was introduced in 2013. That one is now used to interact with students in the months leading up to orientation.

The students you’re trying to reach today have grown up in a world in which nearly everything was an advertisement. When they were still in diapers they were bombarded with cartoon characters aggressively hawking sugar-laced cereals, and as they’ve grown older, the commercials, emails, texts, pop-ups and social posts crowding their view have only increased in volume.

Colleges and universities with the most Twitter activity are missing out on engaging prospective students via the platform, according to new research from Brandwatch, a social media monitoring and analytics firm.

The analysis used a Thomson Reuters list of the top 10 U.S. university mentions on Twitter from January 31 through March 31. The big finding: The main Twitter handles of these schools were used mostly for broadcasting university-specific and industry news, according to the research.

On April 22, College Republican National Committee chair Alex Smith appeared on a Fox News program to launch the #MyLiberalCampus hashtag campaign. In the same segment, an Eastern Connecticut State University student shared an audio recording of his creative writing professor saying that a Republican Senate win in 2014 would result in college closures, and that Republicans are racist and greedy.